Family Of H1N1 Victim: 'Get Your Flu Shot'
by Chris Conte
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The family of a Greenbrier man who died from the H1N1 virus on Tuesday opened up about their loss, hoping it will persuade other people to get their flu shots before it's too late.
"He was healthy, he was strong and at the end he still fought but it (the virus) just took a strong man to his knees and broke our hearts," said Patrick's older sister Nancy Conner on Thursday.
Patrick Sass worked for High Angle Service in Nashville, installing signs high atop the city's skyscrapers. NewsChannel 5 captured a few fleeting moments with Patrick a few years back as he was installing the Pinnacle sign on top of the Pinnacle building downtown.
"He loved his job, he was just so unique," Nancy added.
The father of three and his wife became sick just before Christmas. Not wanting to run up medical bills, his family said Sass brought his wife to the hospital but never sought treatment for himself. By New Year's, the 46-year-old had to be admitted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, never again to return home.
"I think the message here is that you need to get your flu shot and I'm sure he wants nothing more than to save other people's lives," Patrick's nephew Mark said.
Sass did not have his flu shot and his family will never know if that would've saved his life, but they are convinced it could have at least given him a fighting chance.
"I'll miss him forever, and we know if it saves just one life and just one person doesn't have to go through this than his death was not in vain," Nancy said.
Patrick's family is now facing a mountain of medical bills. If you'd like to donate, click here to help.